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(Originally Posted by Chad Sherwood on the Hoops HD Facebook Page)
UMBC at Hartford, 7:00 PM Eastern, espn3
The Vermont Catamounts have already wrapped up the top seed in the America East Tournament, which begins on Saturday. However, in today’s regular season finale, second place, and a chance to host a potential semifinal round game (and even the finals should Vermont get upset before then) is up for grabs. Entering play tonight, Hartford and UMBC are deadlocked in the standings, both having conference records of 11-4. The winner of tonight’s game will be #2 overall while the loser drops to #3. UMBC (20-10 overall) has won four of their last five games, including an 8 point home win over UMass-Lowell last time out. The Retrievers also won the first matchup between these two teams back in January by a 78-56 score. Jairus Lyles had a huge game in that win, scoring season high 35 points.
Hartford (18-11 overall) has been red hot, winning 7 of their last 8 including a huge road win on February 18 at Vermont. Jason Dunne led the way in that late come-from-behind victory with 26 points for the Hawks, while it was John Carroll with 23 points and 15 rebounds who keyed the team’s last win, 67-57 over Binghamton this past weekend. Both players will need to step up tonight if they want to lead Hartford to an outright second place finish and a chance to be the team in best position to steal the NCAA bid if Vermont falters.